Harris Talks Crackin' Heads...........
Jets summer Q&A with linebacker David Harris
Andrew Mills/The Star-LedgerDavid Harris has high expectations for the 2012 Jets defense.
Today we visit with linebacker David Harris, a critical cog of the Jets' proud defense. He has a busy summer ahead, hosting his annual youth football camp in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich., in July -- free to kids ages 9 to 13 -- and hoping his baby daughter handles her first airplane ride well on a family vacation to Barbados. But he's looking forward to reporting to training camp and helping the defense reach new heights.
What are your personal goals for the season?
Continue to get better. Continue to be a better leader, a better teammate and just try to become a step faster and be a better overall player. Be another key piece to the defense.
Is there anything in particular you have been working on?
Bob Sutton, our linebackers coach, has been stressing man-to-man coverage skills, and we’ve been spending a lot of time doing that so far this spring and summer. That’s one of those goals that going into next season, we want to achieve and get better at.
Rex Ryan has said this Jets defense has a chance to be better than the '09 defense. Do you agree?
I agree. Right now, we’re just flying around, having a good time. We have some new pieces. Especially Yeremiah Bell, who’s coming from the Miami Dolphins, who is a great vet and a great leader back in the secondary for us. The rookies -- Quinton Coples is going to play a huge role for us up front. He’s a big athletic guy, who has plenty of upside and potential. He’s going to spend time with (defensive line) coach (Karl) Dunbar to get him up to speed and get him ready for a long season in the NFL. Then we have Demario (Davis), who provides us with tremendous athletic ability. He can run like a deer, so he’s going to play a huge role in our defense, especially in our sub and nickel packages, and special teams. There’s a lot to look forward to, and I just can’t wait to get started.
Calvin Pace talked about reinstalling the defense from the ground up. What is the benefit of doing that?
It’s normal, especially because we have a lot of new guys here, so we have to put everything back in and make sure everybody is on the same page. Because I think last year, we as a team made the mistake of expecting everybody to know something when sometimes guys may not have fully understood it. We were just expecting that they did know. This year with Rex being part of the defensive meetings, being a little bit more involved, he’s asking a lot of questions. He may ask a linebacker what the safety’s job is on a certain play, or he’ll ask a defensive lineman what the corner is supposed to be looking at, so it’s little things like that. Making sure everybody has a grasp of the entire defense, not just their little section.
What will be the biggest difference between the 2012 Jets and the 2011 Jets?
Well this year, I think everyone is flying around faster. There is going to be less gray area in some of the things we’re putting in, and it just allows guys to play fast. But we haven’t played a down yet in 2012, so hopefully we’re past where we were last year.